Start a Support Group
Most people who start Support Groups have very little experience with managing groups, and have limited knowledge on mental health. It is important to be aware of this when you start a Support Group. It is always easier to run a Support Group if help is available from others in your community that are familiar with mental illness. You do not need to be a medical expert or a person living with a mental illness, but it is important to make sure there are people around who can help when you face difficult questions or situations.
Why are you starting a Support Group?
If you are developing a plan of action for starting a Support Group, it is important that you consider your reasons first.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is it to help yourself and your needs?
- Is it to help support others in your community?
- Is it to help both yourself and others?
There is nothing wrong with starting a Support Group for your own needs, but you must be sure to have an interest in the needs of others as well. One purpose of a Support Group is to join in the journey of other members in your group as they navigate making important life choices, which will be difficult if you do not serve the needs of the entire group, rather than just your own.
Support Group Leaders are:
- Giving and caring members of the community who want to make a difference
- They dedicate time and effort to make a space where people feel safe, heard, supported and understood
- In many cases they are patients/ex-patients themselves
Support Group Leaders are not:
- Trained mental health practitioners
- They are not counsellors
- They are not equipped to deal with mentally unwell, manic or suicidal group members
How SADAG will help you:
‘SADAG guides and trains new Support Group Leaders on running a group step-by-step; including a free online 6-part Support Group Leader Training as well as three practical observation sessions.
After you have sucessfuly completed the training, we contuinue to help and support you with ongoing training webinars, materials, handouts , information and more.’
Then to include content from “How SADAG Supports it’s Support Groups” (so this will be merged with Start a Support Group content and will no longer stand alone.
Support Group Leader Training: An Introduction To Support Groups
Why did you start a Support Group?
What tips would you give to someone who wants to start a Support Group?